Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (2024)

Chop Suey – a saucy chicken stir fry loaded with tender pieces of chicken, vegetables and smothered in Chinese brown sauce just like you get at the best Chinese restaurants! Use any vegetables you want in this quick and easy stir fry.

This recipe also shares two little known Chinese restaurant secrets so you can make a stir fry that genuinely is as good as your favourite take out!

Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (1)

Chop Suey – Chicken Stir Fry

Chop Suey is just a slightly westernised version of a classic, basic Chinese stir fry. Because of this, there really aren’t hard and fast rules about what goes in it, but the general characteristic is that the sauce is a fairly light brown colour, there is plenty of it(and you know I love my sauce!!)and it’s pretty thick so it clings to your rice or noodles.

Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (2)

How to make a Chop Suey that’s REALLY restaurant quality

If you’ve ever wondered why your stir fries aren’t quite as tasty as what you get from (good) Chinese restaurants, here are the two things you’ve probably been missing:

Secret 1 – Chinese Cooking Wine

Chinese cooking wine(or Shaoxing Wine) is the secret ingredient in almost every Chinese recipe that’s used by the gallon in Chinese restaurants around the world! It adds depth and complexity of flavour into even the most simple sauces with just a small amount. Read more about it here, including why it’s so important, the difference it makes in recipes and the best substitutes.

Best substitutes for Chinese Cooking Wine –Mirin or dry sherry.

Best non alcoholic substitute for Chop Sueyis touse chicken broth (liquid chicken stock) in place of water in the sauce.

Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (3)

Secret 2 – Tenderised Chicken

Have you noticed that the chicken in Chinese restaurants is incredibly soft and almost “velvety”? It’s because restaurants “velvet” the chicken (that’s the term that is used).

There are a few ways to do this, but I like using a simple method where the chicken is coated in a small amount of baking soda (bi-carb), left for 20 minutes to tenderise, then rinsed before cooking in the stir fry. It’s the easiest and least effort for home cooking – and 100% effect.

Velveting is optional if using chicken thighs because it’s a juicy cut.But if you are using chicken breast or tenderloins and you choose to tenderise it, you are going to beamazed how juicy and tender the chicken is.

Read more about this – Velveting: ChineseRestaurant Way to Tenderise Chicken.

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What goes in Chop Suey

I’ve make Chop Suey with ingredients that are commonly used by Chinese restaurants – Asian greens (Choi Sum), bean sprouts, carrots and mushrooms. But feel free to use whatever vegetables you want!

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How to make Chop Suey

Chop Suey is a 5 minute stir fry that starts off by sautéing garlic and onion before adding vegetables in the order in which they cook. Vegetables that take longer to cook go in first, and more delicate vegetables (like leafy greens) go in last.

Then the sauce is added, simmered for just a minute or two so it thickens, then served immediately over rice to soak up all that tasty sauce!

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Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (7)

What to serve with Chop Suey

With all that tasty sauce, Chop Suey demands to be served withrice! Though if you’re looking for a low carb option, cauliflower riceis a terrific alternative.

If you’re making this as part of a larger banquet or you want to make a menu to serve 4+ people, try adding some of these other dishes to your menu:

Fried Rice
Spring Rolls!
Wonton Soup
Char Siu Pork (Chinese BBQ Pork)
Chinese Steamed Pork Buns
Chinese recipes

If you’re new to this Chop Suey recipe, be prepared to be amazed how similar it really is to Chinese takeout.

“It’s just like the stir fries at Golden Century ChineseRestaurant!!”, first timersexclaim.

Or Golden Palace or Golden Pearl or Golden Wheel or Golden Unicorn or Golden Dragon.

Ahh, Chinese restaurant names, they provide much amusem*nt. But that’s a story for another time!– Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (15)

Chop Suey - Chicken Stir Fry

Author: Nagi

Prep: 9 minutes mins

Cook: 6 minutes mins

Total: 14 minutes mins

Mains, Stir Fry

American Chinese

4.97 from 115 votes

Servings2 - 3 people

Tap or hover to scale


Recipe video above. The essential ingredient for a great Chop Suey sauce is Chinese cooking wine. All Chinese restaurants use it! See notes for subs if you can't get your hands on it. Veggie loaded, light on the meat, this is healthy and adaptable to whatever you've got in your fridge!


Optional Tenderised Chicken (Note 1):

  • 180g (6oz ) chicken breast , thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda / bi-carb (optional, Note 1)

Sauce (or use Charlie, Note 2):

  • 1 tbsp cornflour / corn starch
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce , or all purpose soy(Note 3)
  • 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce (Note 4)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine OR Mirin (Note 5)
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • Dash of white pepper (or black)
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) water

Stir Fry:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (or other cooking oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion , sliced (white, brown, yellow)
  • 5 - 6 stems choy sum (or other Asian greens)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (shiitake is authentic, but any will do)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts


"Velvet" Chicken (optional, Note 1)

  • Place chicken in a bowl, sprinkle over baking soda. Use your fingers to mix then set aside for 20 minutes, no longer than 30 minutes (can get too tender). Rinse well, pat excess water with paper towels, set aside (see video).

Prep Ingredients:

  • Sauce: Place cornflour and soy sauce in a bowl. Mix until lump free. Then add remaining Sauce ingredients and stir.

  • Chop choy sum: Trim end off choy sum. Then cut into 7cm (3") pieces. Separate stems from leaves.

  • Chop carrot - Peel then cut into 3cm (1.3") pieces. Then slice the pieces thinly.

Stir Fry:

  • Heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add garlic, stir quickly, then add onion, Cook for 1 minute, moving constantly, until onion is starting to wilt.

  • Add chicken, cook for 1 minute until the surface changes from pink to white.

  • Add choy sum stems, carrot and mushrooms. Stir fry for 1 minute.

  • Add choy sum leaves, bean sprouts and Sauce. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until the Sauce thickens to a thick syrup consistency. Vegetables should still be tender/crisp, not soggy and soft.

  • Serve immediately with rice (for low carb, low cal option, try Cauliflower Rice!)

Recipe Notes:

1. Tenderised Chicken:Read more about Velveting Chicken the Chinese way for ultra tender chicken like you get in Chinese restaurant stir fries.

Skip the step if using chicken thigh - it's not needed, it's juicy enough.

2. CHARLIE is my All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce. If you haven't met him yet and you love stir fries, you are going to be best friends very soon. Find the recipe for him here, along with how to use him. To use Charlie for this recipe, replace the Sauce with 4 tablespoons of Charlie + 3/4 tsp cornflour / cornstarch + 3/4 cup water.

3. LIGHT SOY SAUCE: This is what keeps the sauce colour clear-ish. You can use ordinary all purpose soy sauce and it will pretty much look the same. If you use dark soy sauce, reduce to 1 tbsp - will still be tasty but the sauce will be super dark brown and a stronger soy flavour.

4. Oyster sauce - substitute with Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (available at some large grocery stores) for vegetarian / shellfish free option.

5. CHINESE COOKING WINE: An essential in Chinese cooking, used by every Chinese restaurant. Read more here.

Substitutions: dry sherry or Mirin, followed by Japanese cooking Sake.

Non alcoholic: Use chicken broth instead of water in the Sauce.

6. No need to marinate the chicken for this recipe because it's sliced thinly and there's plenty of sauce!

7. Nutrition per serving, assuming 2 servings. It's 2 very generous servings, with enough vegetables for a meal - you won't need a side for this. Excludes rice / noodles. Use low sodium soy sauce to reduce sodium.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 618gCalories: 298cal (15%)Carbohydrates: 18g (6%)Protein: 25g (50%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Cholesterol: 57mg (19%)Sodium: 1112mg (48%)Potassium: 1071mg (31%)Fiber: 4g (17%)Sugar: 5g (6%)Vitamin A: 12155IU (243%)Vitamin C: 34.3mg (42%)Calcium: 103mg (10%)Iron: 3.4mg (19%)

Keywords: Chicken Stir Fry, Chop Suey

Did you make this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @recipe_tin.

Originally published November 2017, modified October 2018, and updated March 2020 with new photos and video! No change to the recipe!

More stir fry favourites!

Prawn (Shrimp) Stir Fry
Cashew Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken
Chinese Beef and Broccoli
Crispy Sticky Mongolian Beef
Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry (extra saucy!)
Real Chinese All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce (Charlie!)
Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans
Stir fries

Life of Dozer

This big furry head was just out of frame in every photo in this post…..

Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (25)

Chop Suey (Chicken Stir Fry) (2024)


What's the difference between stir fry and chop suey? ›

When stir-frying, ingredients are cooked in oils in a wok over high heat, stirring constantly. It is a quick cooking method, perfect for a busy household or a bustling restaurant. The chop suey is finished in a sauce, then served over rice or noodles.

What does chicken chop suey contain? ›

It's easy to get all the ingredients for chicken chop suey! Chicken breasts are used in this recipe but boneless chicken thighs will work too. Carrots, celery, bean sprouts, and garlic are favorites in this recipe! Feel free to add canned water chestnuts, baby corn, sliced mushrooms, and bok choy.

What do chop suey dishes contain? ›

chop suey, Chinese American dish consisting of bits of meat, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and other vegetables, stir-fried and then served with rice.

Which is healthier, chow mein or chop suey? ›

Chop suey can be healthier if it's made with steamed vegetable and rice opposed to chow mein made with fried noodles. You can, of course, alter the chow mein using boiled noodles for a better option.

What's the difference between chicken chop suey and chicken chow mein? ›

Although the two dishes may seem similar, the way they are prepared sets them apart as distinct dishes. The sauces for each dish are markedly different, with chop suey usually having a thicker, starchy gravy-like sauce, while chow mein is prepared with a thinner soy-sauce based topping.

Is chicken chop suey good for you? ›

Chop suey is another stir-fry dish made from meat, eggs, and thinly sliced vegetables in a light sauce. It's often made with pork, although some varieties may contain chicken, beef, or tofu. Like other stir-fries, it's a healthier choice because it's made from a protein source and vegetables.

What the heck is chop suey? ›

Chop suey (usually pronounced /ˈtʃɒpˈsuːi/) is a dish from American Chinese cuisine and other forms of overseas Chinese cuisine, generally consisting of meat (usually chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or fish) and eggs, cooked quickly with vegetables such as bean sprouts, cabbage and celery.

Do Chinese eat chop suey? ›

Chop suey is a dish you'll see on almost any Chinese takeout menu—but that doesn't mean it comes from China. According to culinary legend, the dish of stir-fried meat, egg, and vegetables was invented on August 29, 1896, in New York City.

What is a good partner for chop suey? ›

Chop suey is traditionally served for lunch or dinner and enjoyed with steamed rice, grilled meat, or fried fish.

Are there noodles in chop suey? ›

Meat and vegetables are chopped up and stir-fried with a sauce, but since it was invented to use whatever meat and vegetables were on hand to make a quick Chinese-inspired dish, the same philosophy translates into your kitchen. There are no noodles in chop suey; instead, the stir-fried mixture is served over rice.

What is chop suey vs stir fry? ›

Chop Suey is just a slightly westernised version of a classic, basic Chinese stir fry.

What is in a house special chop suey? ›

Veggies – The best chop suey veggies are sliced white onion, thinly-sliced carrots, bok choy, sliced mushrooms, and bean sprouts. Chop suey sauce – You'll make this with soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, cornstarch, white pepper, and water.

What is brown sauce in Chinese? ›

If you mean 'that' brown sauce that is used (usually in the more 'workaday' takeaway places) as a generic seasoning / accompaniment to a great many dishes from fried noodles to stir-fried vegetables, it is usually a mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, vegetable oil and water / stock, sometimes with sugar and starch ...

What makes it chop suey? ›

Chop suey (usually pronounced /ˈtʃɒpˈsuːi/) is a dish from American Chinese cuisine and other forms of overseas Chinese cuisine, generally consisting of meat (usually chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or fish) and eggs, cooked quickly with vegetables such as bean sprouts, cabbage and celery.

Is stir fry the same as chow mein? ›

Stir-fry is a medley of vegetables cooked with garlic and a protein (beef, chicken, pork or seafood) and sometimes will have a sauce. Stir-fry can be served with rice or noodles. If it's noodles, then add some sauce on top, then you've got chow mein. Stir-fry with rice is just that.

What does chop suey mean? ›

noun. chop su·​ey chäp-ˈsü-ē : a dish made chiefly from bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, onions, mushrooms, and meat or fish and served with rice and soy sauce. Etymology. from Chinese (dialect of Guangzhou and Hong Kong) jaahp seui, literally, "odds and ends"

What else is American Chop Suey called? ›

American chop suey is an American pasta casserole made with ground beef, macaroni and a seasoned tomato sauce, found in the cuisine of New England and other regions of the United States. Outside New England it is sometimes called American goulash or Johnny Marzetti, among other names.

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